Saturday, January 30, 2010

Its the Super Bowl; Butter vs. Margarine

Your doctor would tell you that butter is bad for you. Its got all that saturated fat...I would beg to differ and here is why...

For the sake of argument, lets look at sticks. We will use Land o' Lakes since I can compare both products from the same company.

Serving Size 1 TBSP (14g)
Servings Per Container 32
Calories 100
Calories from Fat 100

Amount/Serving %DV*

Total Fat..........11 g......17%
Saturated Fat.......2 g......11%
Trans Fat...........2.5 g
Cholesterol.........0 mg......0%
Sodium............105 mg......4%
Total Carbohydrate..0 g.......0%
Dietary Fiber.......0 g.......0%
Sugars..............0 g
Protein.............0 g
Vitamin A..........10 %
Calcium ............0 %
Vitamin C...........0 %
Iron................0 %

INGREDIENTS: Liquid Soybean Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Water, Buttermilk, Contains Less Than 2% Of Salt, Soy Lecithin, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Vegetable Mono And Diglycerides, Artificial Flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate, Beta Carotene (Color). CONTAINS: MILK AND SOY

Now looking at the label you see that it says 2.5 trans fats. If you scan through the very encouraging list of ingredients, you will find the source. Partially Hydrogenated Soybean oil. Hydrogenated oil and fats are Trans fats. It also lists Vegetable Mono And Diglycerides. Monoglyceride and Diglycerides is a code name for hydrogenated oil/fat. Usually listed as "mono-diglyceride" Otherwise known as "trans fat. Trans Fatty Acids triple risk of Coronary Heart Disease Increases total LDL ( this is the bad cholesterol). Lowers HDL cholesterol and this is the good one.
Increases the risk of cancers by up to five fold, lowers the quality of breast milk, decreases immune response and decreases insulin response. These facts alone should be reason enough to avoid margarine, but let's continue...

Also in the ingredients you see artificial flavor so its tastes like butter. It does have buttermilk, which should improve the look, taste and consistancy, and they add Vitamin A so it has some nutrition like butter. They also add Beta Carotene(more vitamin A?) for color rather than Yellow 40. This is encouraging...

Now lets look at Butter
For the sake of comparison, a 1lb package of salted butter.

Serving Size: 1 tbsp (14g)
Servings Per Container: 32
Amount Per Serving
Calories 100
Calories from Fat 100
% Daily Value*
Total Fat..........11 g......17%
Saturated Fat.......7 g 37%
Trans Fat...........0 g
Cholesterol........30 mg 10%
Sodium.............95 mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate..0 g 0%
Dietary Fiber.......0 g 0%
Sugars..............0 g
Protein.............0 g
Vitamin A...........8 %
Calcium.............0 %
Vitamin C...........0 %
Iron................0 %


Okay, first, let me just say that I CAN READ ALL THE WORDS!
I would also like to point out that it says no trans fats, but natural butterfat contains 2-5% trans-fatty acids (mainly trans-vaccenic acid, a variant of the normal vaccenic acid). The government allows labels to say "0g of trans fats" if it amounts to less than 500mg PER SERVING. Since butter says "0", I would like to point out that the naturally occurring trans-fatty acids rumenic acid and trans-vaccenic acid (trans-vaccenic acid is used by the human body to make rumenic acid) show anti-carcinogenic properties, which is quite opposite to the artificially created trans-fatty acids.

Butter also contains both vitamin A and D, as well as other beneficial substances, including trace minerals. Conjugated linoleic acid in butterfat is a powerful protection against cancer. Certain fats called glycospingolipids aid digestion. Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients. If you were to obtain butter from a grass-fed cow (I am certain this butter is not), all the benefits I just listed would increase dramatically. This is because cows are supposed to eat grass and when they are fed what they are supposed to eat, they produce a more nutritious cream and milk.

So to summarize, both have the same calories. Margarine has 2.5 grams of trans fats and butter has very little. Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few only because they are added. Butter does have 7 g of saturated fats, this particular margarine has 2 grams. Saturated fats from animal sources(not plants or chemical processes), form an important part of the cell membrane; they protect the immune system and enhance the utilization of essential fatty acids. They are needed for the proper development of the brain and nervous system. Certain types of saturated fats provide quick energy and protect against pathogenic microorganisms in the intestinal tract; other types provide energy to the heart. While you should not overdo in your consumption of butter, it is a healthy part of a balanced diet and far better for you than the chemically-laden-substitute better-known-as-margarine.

Margarine, while having been invented in the 1800's is normally a grayish-white and until recently was not legally allowed to be sold with the color yellow added. The color is what makes it look buttery and that's half the battle; making it look better than it actually tastes. And it really isn't food... if you set it out open on the counter, it won't mold, nothing will eat it, flies won't touch it and it will not go bad. It was, at one time, illegal to sell margarine in tubs larger than 1lb(maybe it still is). Why is that?

A note on trans fats:
Other food products, including margarines may say "0" and still have trans fats. That is because the government regulations allow them to say "0g" trans-fat, which effectively means less than 500 mg trans-fat per serving; however, no fat is entirely free of trans fats. Even natural butterfat contains 2-5% naturally occurring trans-fatty acids. When this legislation was passed, some companies just reduced the serving size to make it seem like they had no trans fats. For instance, instead of 4 cookies being a serving, now its 3. Nice, huh?

Long story short and back to the game, butter is tasty, healthy, and when it comes from a cow that eats grass instead of candy bar wrappers, as God intended. Margarine is unnatural, not so tasty and one molecule short of plastic. Would you melt your empty milk jug and spread that on your toast? Just sayin'

1 comment:

Brianna said...

I always knew I liked butter better.